While most of the attention on Shakespeare-influenced play turned TV drama King Charles III is bound to be focused on the main plot (which sees Prince Charles become King and force a constitutional crisis) or the presence of the ghost of Princess Diana in the story, the 90-minute film’s subplot also bears some special attention.
Said subplot sees Prince Harry (Richard Goulding) start dating a commoner (Tamara Lawrance), only to see her become a victim of major press intrusion when their relationship becomes public knowledge.
To many, this whole storyline could seem reminiscent of the recent media attention around the real-life Harry’s relationship with Suits star Meghan Markle, which saw the Prince issue an unprecedented statement condemning the intrusion into his girlfriend’s personal life.
Kensington Palace has issued a statement this morning about the harassment currently being experienced by Meghan Markle and her family. pic.twitter.com/EuFZ4fmUIj
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 8, 2016
The crossover is all the more interesting considering the fictional plotline actually pre-existed the real news story by a number of years, with Harry’s similar predicament first dramatised in the stage version of King Charles III back in 2014.
The whole comparison has not been missed by members of the drama’s cast, who say the thematic similarities have given them even greater confidence in the relevance and importance of the project they’ve worked on.
Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle
“This Meghan Markle is a very different person from the girl that Harry meets in the story, but Harry’s outburst against the press attention on it is amazingly, exactly timed,” Prince Harry actor Goulding told RadioTimes.com on the set of the BBC drama.
“It’s amazing that Harry has felt strongly enough to do that in real life. I don’t know how helpful it was for him, or her, but obviously there is a huge strength of feeling there in him which ties in exactly with his emotional turmoil in this story.”
According to the actors, Harry’s statement hit the headlines the day before the first readthrough of the TV version of the play, with the fallout helping to inspire them for the performance ahead.
“Not in a gleeful way, but it does hammer home that this actually feels like an important piece of work in a sense,” Goulding said.
“So it’s not a sort of, ‘Ooh, hooray, we’re right!’ It’s more, ‘This isn’t just a fantasy, it’s not just an idle bit of storytelling, using the royal family as a vehicle, it actually feels important’.”
“Drama is often [asked], ‘Well why is it relevant? Why is it here?’,” added co-star Oliver Chris, who plays Prince William.
“And with this, you don’t need to ask the question because every several weeks with the royal family there’s a new crisis, there’s a new issue, there’s a new thing in the press. It all ties in.”
Though of course, the actors are fairly sure the play’s downbeat ending won’t have much reflection on Harry’s real-life future.
“With Harry, [the play’s] got a very interesting slant on his place in the family,” Goulding concluded. “How the story in this ends up probably doesn’t have very much basis in what’s really going on now.
“There are points of amazing, striking connection to what’s going on in his life at the moment, but I think this story doesn’t really concern itself with his role.”
We can only hope the wilder and more chaotic elements of Mike Bartlett’s script don’t end up coming true as well. We’re not sure we could handle a ghost Diana in real life.